Goodwin Falls and Sylvia Falls, Wells Gray Park

Sylvia Falls – © Larry Citra

Mahood River drains Mahood Lake into the Clearwater River.  There is a trail running up the south side of Mahood River, all the way from its confluence with the Clearwater River to Mahood Lake.  About two thirds of the way up the trail are Sylvia Falls and Goodwin Falls.

Clearwater and the start of the road to Sylvia Falls

Clearwater and the start of the road to Sylvia Falls (click to see the red text)

You get to the lower end of the trail by driving 37 km over a very bumpy (potholes and washboard) narrow road – average speed 25 km/hr – which starts at Clearwater.   It’s a bit hard to find:  go into the Clearwater Business District from the east entrance off Highway 5; just across the bridge over the Clearwater River turn right onto Camp 2 Road.  Take the first right off Camp 2 Road after passing Musgrave Road on the right and Carey Road on the left.

The trail is 4 km, on the south side of Mahood River.  At the trail’s beginning, hiking is deceptively easy.  The first third crosses swampy ground over which, here and there, are stretches of board walk.

Sample Boardwalk - ©Sharon Chambers

Sample Boardwalk – ©Sharon Chambers

The next third is rolling, through birch, fir and spruce; it features a bit of up-and-down, but nothing serious.  The last third is difficult, with long up hill clambers, and only short downhill recovery sections. The photo below shows the approximate route (south side).  The trail runs below the scree slope, but climbs up over the high point followed by some quite steep up-and-down before reaching Goodwin and Sylvia Falls.

Sylvia and Goodwin Falls  - looking downstream to show trail

Sylvia and Goodwin Falls – looking downstream to show trail

But the prize is worth the effort:

Sylvia Falls, Wells Gray Park  2014-08-14 - ©Derek Chambers

Sylvia Falls, Wells Gray Park 2014-08-14 – ©Derek Chambers

Goodwin Falls are a bit downstream from Sylvia Falls, and are not as high.

Goodwin and Syvia Falls DSC4172 20140820- ©Derek Chambers

Goodwin (foreground) and Sylvia Falls – ©Derek Chambers

There are many interesting little mini-landscapes along all portions of the trail.  Stopping to take a photo or two is a good excuse to catch your breath!

Hobbits Here - ©Sharon Chambers

Hobbits Here – ©Sharon Chambers

Gandalf Slept Here - ©Sharon Chambers

Gandalf Slept Here – ©Sharon Chambers

A warning or two.

The swampy part would be very difficult in the Spring and early Summer.  It is still fairly wet in mid-August so wear appropriate footwear.

Stream Crossing - ©Sharon Chambers

Stream Crossing – ©Sharon Chambers

The road lacks culverts in many places – streams simply flow over the road.  While most are dry in August, again, in the Spring and early Summer, these crossings might be challenging (to say the least); additionally one has to drive down one bank, through the stream and climb up the other bank, so a low slung car would probably drag a few times!

Along the road are spectacular views of the Clearwater River rushing through narrow rocky channels.  And at one point one can see where Spahats Creek runs into the Clearwater River.

Laundry Day - © Larry Citra

Laundry Day – © Larry Citra

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2 Responses to Goodwin Falls and Sylvia Falls, Wells Gray Park

  1. c says:

    Hi, I had some questions and a photo to ask you about. Thanks

    Like

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